I just got back from Vancouver, and yes – I am leaving for Vancouver, again, in four days for TRAFFIC! Welcome to the wonderful world of travel! Well I thought now would be a good time to put-together another travel post since travel is such a big part of my life.
Today’s tip is about getting on an earlier flight. We’ve all been in this situation – meetings end early, you get to the airport 4-5 hours before your flight and you want to get on an earlier flight. Well there’s a right and a wrong way to go about doing this. Since I have a lot of experience with this I thought I’d help some of you get home early, because let’s face it – there’s no place like home!
The first mistake people make is to try to book the earlier flight directly with the airline either at the airport or over the phone. This will usually result in a $100+ fee that you don’t have to pay if you follow my advice – see I’m already saving you money!
Get your boarding pass like you normally do and make your way through security. Once you’re in the gate area head-on over to the departure screens and find-out which gate the flight you want to get on is leaving from.
It helps if you don’t have any bags under the plane which is one reason why I only travel with carry-on. While you still have a chance of getting-on an earlier flight with bags under the plane it’s a lot of work for the gate agent which sometimes prevents them from helping you.
When you arrive at the gate remember the one golden rule of airplane travel – be polite. The people at the gate can help you…but only if they want to. If you’re pushy, demanding, or just plain mean don’t expect to get on the earlier flight. Instead be very gracious and thank them in advance for anything they can do to help.
Sometimes the gate agent will send you to the Customer Service counter. Don’t go – this is the counter where all of your dreams are crushed and your hopes dashed. Instead go where they can ACTUALLY help you – an airline lounge. If you’re flying United, head to a Red Carpet club, American – an Admirals Club, Delta – the crown club…you get the picture.
When you get to the club tell them that someone at the gate sent you. Don’t try to get-into the club, they’ll turn you down and most likely won’t help you with your ticket problems. While I am a member of almost every airline club out there I find they are usually happy to help regardless – as long as you tell them that someone from the gate sent you there. This will help you avoid the Customer Service area and give you a much better chance of getting on the earlier flight.
That’s it! I hope this helps some of your get home earlier, because, like I said earlier – there really is no place like home! Oh and I am writing this post on a flight back from Vancouver – and yes – I got on a flight leaving three hours before my scheduled flight – hopefully I can catch the end of the Lakers game!